The Catholic University of America


Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky '75 to Deliver
Columbus School of Law’s 2017 Commencement Address

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Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky, Senior International Partner at WilmerHale and a 1975 alumna of the Columbus School of Law, will deliver the Law School’s 128th Commencement Address on Friday, May 26, 2017.

“We are very pleased that Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky will deliver the Law School’s 2017 Commencement address,” said Daniel F. Attridge, Dean and Knights of Columbus Professor of Law. “Ambassador Barshefsky is recognized as a leading expert on international business, economic, and trade issues. She has a deep reservoir of experience, achievement, and service to draw upon in offering advice to our graduates.”

Ambassador Barshefsky served as the US Trade Representative—the chief trade negotiator and principal trade policymaker for the United States—from 1997 to 2001, and acting as deputy USTR from 1993 to 1996. As the USTR and a member of the President's Cabinet, she was responsible for the negotiation of hundreds of complex market access, regulatory, and investment agreements with virtually every major country in the world. She is best known internationally as the architect and chief negotiator of China's historic WTO Agreement, as well as global agreements in financial services, telecommunications, intellectual property rights, high-technology products, and cyberspace. Her extraordinary legal career has encompassed international litigation, commercial negotiations, investment and regulatory advice, and dispute resolution, and she has written and lectured extensively both here and abroad.

Among her many awards, Ambassador Barshefsky has been named to the inaugural Legal 500 US Hall of Fame list, chosen by National Law Journal as among the "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America" and the "50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America,” received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Chambers & Partners, selected by Lawdragon as one of "500 Leading Lawyers in America," and consistently recognized as one of the top international trade lawyers by SuperLawyers and Best Lawyers in America.

In the fall of 2014, Ambassador Barshefsky was the guest speaker at the Law School's Alumni Mentor Reception for first-year students where she offered students advice on how to study and urged them to stay connected to the school as the years roll by. This year the same group of students will hear from her once again as they walk across the stage to receive their diplomas.